Wild West History Association Dedicated to the history and lore of the American West
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John C. Coble

 

(1857 - December 4, 1914)

 

John Coble was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and graduated from a local college. He came west stopping in the Nebraska Platte River Valley to begin his cattle raising career. Then on to Johnson County and finally to Albany County in Wyoming.

 

In Albany County, Frank Bosler formed the Iron Mountain Ranch Company and hired John Coble to manage the operations. Coble showed his eccentricity when he pulled his gun and put a bullet in an oil painting dominating the wall at the Cheyenne Club. The Cheyenne Club was a social men's club where prominent citizens gathered. After this incident John resigned his membership.

 

During this time a cattle baron in western Colorado was trying to squeeze out the small ranchers and rustlers. Coble had heard of a man-hunter who was perfect for the job - Tom Horn. After his services in Browns Park, Horn began his employ and friendship with John Coble.

 

Coble had trouble with a local rancher Kels Nickell - Willie Nickell's father. In a dispute over some cattle wandering onto Iron Mountain Ranch property, Kels Nickell seriously injured Coble with a knife wound to the abdomen.

 

After Tom Horn was arrested for the killing of Willie Nickell, Coble stood by Horn's side when others distance themselves due to the public opinion. Coble went so far as to divert $5,000 given to him by Bosler for ranch operations to pay a retainer fee for Horn's lawyers.

 

When Tom Horn was hanged for Willie Nickell's death, John Coble paid for the coffin, gravestone and all the funeral expenses. He also made sure the manuscript written by Horn was put into book form. This manuscript is now known as the book "Life of Tom Horn: Government Scout and Interpreter - Written by Himself"

 

Coble ventured to western Wyoming and Texas trying to establish and manage other ranches, but work did fall into his lap. He repeatedly wrote Frank Bosler requesting money. In Elko, Nevada Coble's health was failing and he was in financial trouble. In the lobby of the Commercial Hotel, Coble pulled his gun, put it into his mouth and fired. He left behind a widow and four children.

 

John C. Coble is buried in the Lakeview Cemetery in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

 

 

Gravesite Map

 

Information compiled by Steve Grimm

 

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© Wild West History Association - a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation

http://www.WildWestHistory.org